Document # - Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh - Becoming animal

Becoming animal

Document # - 14 November 2018

 Kelly Mark, Equine behaviourist (horse whisperer) was invited to act as a respondent in the intersection between animal human from her position and experience.

Part 1:

LARP Kelly Marks, mimicking the behaviour of wild horses in the filed, from her position and experience.  Participants were divided into two groups(herds). We enact a scenario to help better understand the gestures of interspecies communication, behavioral patterns. The seminar opened up ideas of equine gender roles, kinship, kindness and care. Kelly continued to tell the group some anecdotes and stories, including interpretations/ misinterpretations in her field of research and practical expertise.

Part 2:

Two participants read a recited story, which is recorded live using customised prosthetic binaural horse ear microphones prop, a third participant wears in-ear cavity binaural earphones. The story enacts an account of British states carceral conditioning and torture, with an account of a recent trip to the Basque Country and Doha, through the relationship with a family of mules and a strange Qatari Sheep/ goat/ (Caprinae) (humanoid) hybrid. The creature was spotted in a off the grid landscape populated by a nomadic population a few hours outside Doha.

Core questions raised for discussion:

  • Is there a need for horse whispering in broader terms of societal conditioning?
  • What can we learn from these relatively new methods of care and kinship with animals in relation to current political anger and applied to our broader society?

Kelly Marks is the UK’s most popular ‘Horse Whisperer’ or putting it more accurately – specialist in understanding horse psychology and behavior, and finding workable solutions to benefit both horses and humans.  Kelly recently assisted the puppeteers at The National Theatre with War Horse to get the right body language. Kelly’s own horse went on the stage for an afternoon Platform Performance.  Kelly was the subject of a documentary made in Namibia – to see if she could bond with a horse that had never seen humans before?  She succeeded. Kelly says ‘I was riding him within a couple of hours and on the third day rode him out into the desert so set him free – because of ‘how I was’ with him, not because of ‘who I am’ if you see what I mean.  All that I do can be taught’. 

Kelly has given her own very successful demonstrations around the world – South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg as well as England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland where she’s helped overcome a wide variety of equine problems such as refusing to load in the horsebox, bucking, bolting, rearing, napping, spooking, shying, biting, kicking as well as nice simple young horses that are ready to have their first saddle and rider. 

Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh was born in Derry and based in London. He obtained an MFA at Goldsmiths College, London, 2010-2012 (Distinction with AHRC Bursary). He is undergoing a PHD in the art department at Goldsmiths and teaches as part of the GTT program.  He is an interdisciplinary visual artist with an interest in materiality in particular the intersections between material and immaterial processes. His research explores complexities inherent within conditions/ conditioning in relation to late state capitalism. Ó Dochartaigh has an ongoing collaborative relationship with a family of donkeys, exploring interspecies relationships and kinship, bridging ideas of labour co-workers of companion species.  Recent research methodologies have centred around  ’ a multi user interface’- a thinking pattern for accelerated capitalism, complete with speculative massage tools for a family of donkeys.

Ó Dochartaigh has taken part in the Residency Programme at CIAP, Ile de Vassivière, France, 2016. He given numerous lectures, including MFA Art program, University of Ulster, Belfast 2016 Participating in Resonance FM and the Lux critical forum 2014-2015. He was invited to participate in 'The Conch' at the South London Gallery, 2012

In 2015 he was awarded ‘Artists International Development Fund’, Arts Council England / British Council, in 2013 he was awarded an individual artist grant for the inaugural City of Culture Derry. He was a finalist for Foundation Francois Schneider, May 2012.

Recent selected shows include: DOBLES DE PROXIMIDA, Curated by Patricio Kind, Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art 2018. Tulca international festival 2017, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine Treignac Projet, France, 2016.  Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), Norway, August 2015, Vanishing Futures: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, Golden Thread gallery, Belfast, 2016